And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (Gen. 2:19)
The narrative of Genesis here expresses something akin to divine curiosity. In doing so, it hints at values implicit in dominion: personhood, play, word, freedom, and mystery.
The term ‘curiosity’ comes from the Latin word ‘cura’, meaning ‘care’. Whatever the proper theological term, Genesis 2:19 exhibits our Father’s good please in our existence, and not merely as an extension of his will. God looks to see our response to His creation because it is in our playful and free response to the world that we emerge as persons–that we enact the life of the divine image, the word in and through and by which we are made.
This moment of naming provides an image human education, a moment characterized by discovery, relationship, but also longing. All true education seeks to touch upon the Eden-ic wonder and gladness which must have been experienced in Genesis 2:19. But any true education cannot end with the natural world, not even with discovery of those who are “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.”
Instead, an educative encounter is only fully realized in the simultaneous consciousness that the world is not enough. Our wonder, our desire, our longing to love and be loved, to know and be known ultimately must carry us beyond the creation.